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Is Creativity Genetic? Design Idea E629 Necklace
by Barbara van Look, Marketing Content Development Group, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

"Oh, nobody in my family is creative. We don't have the gift."
"You got that creative gene from your mom."
"I've always heard that creativity skips a generation, like red hair."
"I'm not creative. I just don't have it in me."

To put it frankly?

Bullpucky.

Lies "They" Told About Your Creativity

Is Creativity Genetic? Creativity just seems easier for some people, doesn't it? That's the story "They" tell us.

The same "They" who said that other people are creative. Other people have this endless stream of ideas and designs and color combinations magically bubbling up inside their heads. Other people can imagine mixing golden agate and amethyst with hot pink chalk turquoise--and end up making it look good.

It seems logical to assume that the reason those other people have so many ideas is because of some inherited creativity, right? Well, you know what happens when you "assume" ...

Creativity has been shoved down into a corner because "They" decided it's childish--or placed on a crystal pedestal out of reach for any but the golden few. "They" have been telling you a lot of lies about your creativity. You probably recognize them:
  • Only Specially Talented Artists are Creative Creativity doesn't live in a gated community, nor in a ghetto. It's not a magical gift for the select few, nor is it segregated from the rest of the world into only the arts. Creativity appears in engineering, mathematics, urban planning and every other field in the world. Creativity is about thinking up new solutions to old problems--which is what progress is all about.
  • You're Either Creative or You're Not Creativity is a skill, and like every other skill--from oil painting to driving a semi-trailer to snowboarding--it can be taught to you. Of course, some people will have more native skill than others. Just because one jogger has longer legs than another jogger doesn't mean both can't run.

    Creativity is a muscle in your mind. If you exercise it, it becomes more flexible, more adaptable, more eager to respond. If you neglect it, it will atrophy and wither. If you sit around waiting for it to magically "work," you'll wait a long time. The old joke still rings true:

    "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?"
    "Practice, practice, practice."
  • You Can't Make a Decent Living Being Creative "They" also say that, unless you're J.K. Rowling, you'll live a life of poverty if you insist on using your creativity. Tell that to Steve Jobs, Mae Jemison, Thomas Edison, Sheryl Sandberg, Anthony Romero and Wilma Mankiller. Each are known for their creative problem solving, for thinking outside the box or beyond the horizon of what their peers believed was possible--and being successful in their fields.
Is Creativity Genetic?

None of them are artists, musicians or actors. Creativity is a part of business and political success, too--not an enemy of it.

The Truth About Your Creativity

Creativity is not genetic. You don't get it passed down to you like the shape of your chin or the texture of your hair. Like the ability to play music, creativity is learned . Here are some of the factors that affect your creativity:

Is Creativity Genetic?
  • Environment and Experience The environment you grew up in affects how you express your creativity, not whether you have any. Everybody has creativity. When you were a little kid, you made up stories with your toys and drew pictures of things that weren't real. What happened after you were a little kid, however, can make a big difference. Did the adults around you listen and delight in your stories and art? Or did they tell you that "only babies" did that and you needed to "grow up"?

    If your creativity got squashed as a child, you're probably still squashing it now--without even knowing it. Like a recording playing in your head that tells you to "stop playing" and "get out of your make-believe world," those habits of thought and old rules are choking your creativity. Because creativity isn't a serious business.

    Creativity is about playing.
  • Fear and Fearlessness "If you think you are beaten, you are;
    If you think you dare not, you don't.
    If you'd like to win, but think you can't
    It's almost a cinch you won't."
    This version of Walter D. Wintle's poem illustrates the problem perfectly. What you think about yourself, you make true, eventually.

    If you think you're creative, you'll be creative; if you think you aren't, you'll have problems setting your creativity free. If your first response to any idea you have is to tell yourself how it's not possible--or too difficult, too complicated, too fancy, too gaudy, too simple--then you've become afraid of your own creativity. Give yourself permission to fail, too; you're not required to be perfect! Try new techniques and increase your skillset but pass on the need for perfectionism.

    Creativity is about risktaking.

Is Creativity Genetic?
  • Passion and Pep How much do you want to be creative? How much do you crave that inspiration? How much do you really want those ideas running through your head, at inconvenient times and places? Frequently, creativity doesn't follow a schedule or an approved path. Like a river in the hands of the Army Corps of Engineers, it can be directed but not always controlled.

    To be creative, the first step is to want to be creative. The second is to do what moves you. Are you new to wirework, yet find it fascinating and beautiful? Don't let your (or someone else's) doubts drown out your passion and interest in what you're learning and doing.

    Creativity is about caring.

    Creativity isn't a genetic gift that only a few special people get, along with cute noses and dainty feet. Creativity is a choice that designers make every day, a mental muscle you can choose to exercise and a skill you can both learn and teach.
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